Dear White People. . . A review through the eyes of the hair obsessed

So when I saw the trailer for the movie Dear White People I was excited,  I couldn’t wait to see this “complex” black movie that had more substance to the characters than a Tyler Perry movie. Something that looked at the relations of twenty something whites and blacks. So when it came out I drug my white boyfriend along and said, come on it will be funny you will like it. Thinking to myself, shit you might hate this but this movie is for me.

So as a self proclaimed hair obsessed I watched the evolution of the four main characters hair throughout the film, and noticed some interesting trends, so lets look at those four main characters.

Sam- the mixed girl that becomes the face of the black power movement at her college through her Dear White People radio show. They make sure that you know that she is conflicted about where she fits in, is she too light skinned to run this movement, does the term Redbone offend her? You bet it does.  So she rocks every updo you can think of. She makes sure that you can tell her hair is natural throughout the entire movie. But you know being a mixed girl her hair might not be as curly as some so she doesn’t go and rock the full on fro, and you never see her hair down until. .. enter the white guy she is seeing on the side. Of course none of her black movement friends know about this.  It is not until she accepts her ” malato” ( as her white man calls her) ways and steps out of the spotlight to do what she loves that we see her beautiful hair out of it’s updo. When she embraces this “true self” of hers she then wears her hair down, and of course walks off into the sunset holding the hand of said white guy.

Leroy- Oh ya you have to throw a gay guy into the mix to make it complicated right? So Leroy the black guy that never fit in with anyone in high school, felt more discriminated against by the black students than the white students. Case and point someone in the movie tells him that ” you are only technically black” he has no home at the school. And is rocking a huge, unkept afro. He slowly meanders his way through all of the houses on campus and ends up back at the traditionally black house, he then finds himself at the most racist party and finds his place in the community. Is surrounded by his fellow black students and oh ya, gets a fresh cut. Now that he doesn’t have to hide behind that fro right, no need for that stereotype anymore. No way he could have just liked it.

CoCo- Oh CoCo, she is probably the one I am supposed to identify with, right, this girl that doesn’t feel strongly about black/white relations. Doesn’t come into college wanting to change the world. And maybe even wants to be white a little to much. And yet here I am writing a very racially fueled blog, guess I don’t fit into one of these pretty boxes, or maybe I am just more like Sam. But CoCo she is the only girl prominent in the movie that has a weave, or straight hair for that matter. You know, if you care about your race you are clearly a natural girl. Because how you choose to style your hair completely defines your stance on political issues. CoCo ends up dressed up at the “black party” in a white wig, and her line that stuck out to me, ” They don’t give a damn about no Harriet Tubman, they buy Jay-Z tickets. . . because they want to be us and for one night they got to be.”

Troy- Troy the son of the dean of students who has had a grudge with the white president of the school since forever. Troy that dated the presidents daughter because his dad wanted him too. Troy that became just a little bit “blacker” when he was around the white students so that they thought he was the cool guy, but was very “put together” around his fellow black students so that they would respect him or something. He made it clear to everyone that he did fresh cuts, he made it clear that his hair was important to him, important to keep short and clean. But of course gotta keep those waves in it, unkept nappy hair just wont do. Until he begins to stand up to his daddy and embrace himself, then it is a sideways cap and shaggy hair.

It is amazing to me the things I can see through the lenses of hair. And it is not that I have a problem with any of these characters I identify with a piece of all of them. But that is just it, a piece. Making this complex black movie still tried to put all of the pieces of a culture that has changed and evolved into pretty little boxes that are easy to identify. Sam wrote a book in this move that lets people take quizzes and identifies them as, oofta, nose-job, or 100. These boxes in themselves are a problem, what no one can ever try to succeed in a certain way without being an oofta, I can’t love my white boyfriend without being a nosejob?  I have made it a point in my life to stay clear of debates like this one, and here I am. . . so maybe I am more like one of these 4 characters than I want to believe. But here I am and that is not going to change.

If you loved this move that is great, I do not want a debate out of this . . this is just what the hair told me.

Yours truly

The Hair obsessed

Do whatever you want. . . Oh I did

The Journey from this. . . IMG_0006

to this. . . IMG_0020

So I had decided I wanted crochet braids. so I came home and my roommate braided my hair, in simple cornrows straight back, we connected the two center braids about halfway back so that I could wear a side part of down the middle. So then I took my Marley hair and began installing it, this was a fairly easy process once I began, probably the most simple protective style that I have tried yet. And since I have no previous hair experience and YouTube is my instructor, simple is good.

However I did not realize that with this type of hair less is definitely more and I ended up being too generous with the hair throughout my head. . I ended up only using about 2 packs of hair, but I think that 1 to 1 and half packs should be my limit in the future. I loved the texture of the hair but was not a fan of the pure fact that it was HUGE! I couldnt even get it all in my hand to put it up, and since this took be till way past my bedtime to complete ( in total I think it still only took 3 hours, braids included) I wore my hair all pinned up around my head the next day to teaching. So back to the drawing board, aka YouTube I went, how can I control these tresses?? The answer I seemed to get was to curl it. . . so when I got home I set back to work .

I did a combination of styles of curlers and curled all of this hair and then dipped them in boiling water to “seal” the hair.. . this must be a process I am doing wrong because with both my sengalese twists and this style I havent’ been able to do it. . . the result came out like this. . . IMG_0008 Not bad. . but not the look I was going for.

So I wore it like this for two days and then tried once again to master the curl method. . IMG_0015 Result . .. Oh and did I mention I got engaged last week?? So I had been promising friends that when I got engaged I would rock a Feyonce shirt for my girl Beyonce so here it is. .. I absolutely loved my hair in this picture, unfortunately the look did not even last the day and by that night I was back to a poofy mess.

After 4 days I was about ready to give up on this style and just call it a day. Simplicity was not worth the hassle that this hair was causing me, I had spend three nights doing my hair instead of lesson planning. . . something that is not unusual but this time it was not for fun reasons.

So then with a heavy heart I started looking into straightening marley hair, the girls on youtube were helpful once again and said that Marley hair actually takes heat fairly well and with a good moisturizer and the proper time, you can do a blow out on Marley Hair, http://youtu.be/Ln31O1Ld_Ug , following this video I blow dried my hair and the result was finally something I LOVE! And the bonus . .. It has been about 4 days and It is still holding up. I wear it in a bun at night which gives it  a slight curl pattern that I love and the size is much more managable!  So crochet braids are here to stay. Next time I will probably not go through all of these steps. but who knows. .. knowing me I will probably attempt the curls again. ( Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a new result?)

IMG_0020 Here is the final result. this picure was taken 2 days after I blow dried it and I am still loving it. I am testing it out to see if I want to wear my hair this way for our engagement pictures. If anyone has any good suggestions for hair styles let me know.

Also if anyone has the key to the curl method, you would save me if you shared! Maybe then I would be successful and not burn my hands.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend! Have a great start to your week tomorrow

Love your do and grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

Do whatever you want!

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This has to be my motto, as I begin to search fora new protective style once again! The more I work through this journey I am realizing that my hair THRIVES in a protective style.  I retained more length in my twists than at any other time and this was with minimal moisture over those 6 weeks. My hair came out of that still soft and manageable with almost an inch of new growth.

So the search begins . .. what to do next, I am also considering what style I want my hair to be in for my engagement photos. . . oh ya last weekend, I GOT ENGAGED! So along with all of my hair rambelings, and teacher rantings, may quickly become a dumping place for all things wedding! I am so excited it will be in 10m months on 8.7.15 at the most gorgeous little chapel. But that is besides the point. .

As I have been searching for a style that will both protect my hair and create a versatile style for the upcoming pictures and winter months, I discovered crochet braids, a style that in my limited knowledge I had never heard of. But I am more than inspired and with my roommates help I am thinking I am going to dive into the crochet braid world soon.

As much as I change my hair, the more people give me the look instead of complimenting my hair style changes, I am still convinced, ” it is my hair I will do what I want.” Whether this means a new style every month, relaxing, Big Chopping continue to transition. It is a top my head and therefore it is my decision. That goes for you as well.

So start thinking of some good natural hair styles for weddings. . . that will get to be my project for a few months.

Have a wonderful tuesday.

Love your do and grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

The evolution of the first wash-n-go!

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Day 1 through 4 of my wash n go went AWESOME. I was able to wear my hair down for 3 of the days in slightly different variations. I didn’t notice a huge loss of moisture in my hair I did moisturize and seal in the middle of the week, using a mixture of coconut oil and aragon oil, and my Cantu Shea Butter  moisturizer.

On the fifth day I discovered something that made me so happy, at 10 months post relaxer I have retained enough length to o a SOCK BUN! My roommates for the last two years have done many styles utilizing the sock bun, from the classic to using them to make curls and I have looked on with envy as my hair grew from his BC state to become long enough. Every couple of months I would try again and fail, but this time, on the 5th day of my wash n go, I succeeded! FullSizeRender-3 It is still little, and I had to work to completely cover the sock, but it is there, my first sock bun.

This seems like both a style and length accomplishment for me!

Well that was my week, short sweet and to the point.

I hope everyone has been as successful and had a wonderful weekend.

Tomorrow is a teacher work day, break from the children! Woo hoo, but meetings all day, I think that might be worse than children.

Have a great week, all of you out there!

Love your do and grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

Learning to rock the Wash-n-go!

Tonight I am trying something I have consistently done since high school, when my hair was completely natural, never been relaxed, the wash n go! During my wash day I came to the realization that at 10 months post relaxer my hair was now more natural hair than relaxed and I wanted to see what my natural hair is like dry.

So first I pre-poo’d with egg yolk and olive oil for 45 minutes, washed with my new Renewing Morrocan Oil Shampoo and conditioned with the same brand. cond

I have been wanting to try this brand for a while and finally bought it and am going to try it for about a month and decide, at first glance I am not sure how I feel about it it did not provide a lot of slip that I normally find with my conditioner but it did seem to provide my hair moisture and I did not find my hair to be terribly tangled while finger combing it.

So then I T-shirt dried my hair for 30 minutes, applied coconut oil and cantu shea butter moisturizer my favorite moisturizer to date. Trying the wash n go is something new for me, but I am loving the curls I see in my natural hair, especially around my nape. They are making me more and more excited about the styles that I will be able to rock throughout my transition and with my natural hair. I have also retained much more length during these 10 months than I have in the past years.

FullSizeRender-1 Texture shot of the curls at my nap! So springy and happy!!

FullSizeRender-2 Hair after applying moisturizers and oils.

I hope that this look holds up in the morning, if not, bun-life it is!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week. What are your tricks for a wash-n-go style?

I am always looking for tips and tricks for this journey!

Love your do and grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

Hey Hair, it is nice to see you, how has it been under there?

Well I didn’t quite make it till halloween, but I made it about a month and a half with my Marley twists in, about halfway through I cut them to be shoulder length and that kept them in a little while longer. but thy kept coming how and I was having to redo them a lot so out they came , fun while they lasted and I may but them back in soon we will see.

Over the last month and a half however I retained all of my new growth, that is a major win in my book. This was probably around a half an inch. However I think it is time for a trim, my edges are thinning and I am trying to remember health over length. So I am thinking that soon it will be time to trim them off, that will still leave me at a little below shoulder length, the longest my hair has been in years.

I am working hard not to BC all of my relaxed hair off because I will probably be making a big life change in the next year, update to come when I can inform everyone. For this change I want my hair as long as possible. So a trim it is. . .

For pictures, check out the Pictures of My Head  section as well as my instagram at myhairenvy on instagram.

This is short and sweet, more later. Have a wonderful end of the week,

Thanks lovely people.

Love your do and grow that Fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

Trials of the Hair obsessed. . . You don’t want me here because of my color. . .

Sorry for the double non-hair entries in a row, but this is something that I cannot keep in.

As stated in the last Trials of the Hair Obsessed, I am in a residency year to get my masters in special education.  I am doing this residency in a low income school that serves just over 700 students, last school year, 664 of these students identified as Hispanic, 58 identified as White, and 11 identified as African American. Ok so what do these numbers actually mean, it means that my school is over 50% spanish speaking and has continued bilingual education through 5th grade. It also means that Black students are still hugely the minority, and this makes an impact for our black males especially.

This year I am watching first hand as two of the sweetest, challenging but sweet boys get stuck in the “angry black man” label before the age of 12, they have been suspended multiple times in the last two weeks between the two of them. And talks of moving them into the center for emotional disabilities run wild. A center that is largely used for this purpose, to house “angry black men” to get them through high school, when the public education system no longer has to deal with them.

Today in my reading group one of these boys, who both are admittedly not perfect children by any means and have behavior issues that must be addressed. But one of these boys got in trouble for not listening and choosing to distract others by calling out and singing and dancing, I was having a conversation with this boy after group and it went something like this

Student throws clipboard at me across the hall ( his clipboard is part of a behavior incentive program)

” I am not coming to group tomorrow”

Me” I hope that you do, when you make good choices you learn and you are such a good student, I would miss you if you weren’t in my group.”

” You are lying, you don’t want me here, don’t want me ___( School name) cause of my color”

Me: ( Almost in tears) ” That is not true, I want you here, I believe in you and want you to succeed.”

Even at the end of this conversation I don’t think he believed me, he is maybe 9 years old and he already has it engrained in his being that he is not wanted in the place that should make him feel safe because of the color of his skin. We do not live in a city that is often thought of as having even a strong history of racism but if a innocent 9 year old boy already has this deep feeling then clearly this needs to be something that is addressed.

I am not here to call for a complete overhaul of these institutions, I am asking for everyone to understand that this is still something that is living, something that is affecting our students and taking away possibilities that they don’t even know they have. I want everyone to take the time to think about what your actions are saying to these students.

Maybe this boy heard these things from his parents or outside places, but that in itself it also a problem, these perceptions and feelings have to be stopped. As a teacher I want to make all of my students feel that no matter if they are learning English, if they are from an affluent family, if they are white or black that I believe in them

I cannot change the circumstances of my students, and I cannot change the world  but I can control how I act and the things I do with these students. And I am going to strive everyday to make EVERY student I work with feel that someone cares about them, and that I believe in them. 

I don’t know of a better way to say it than to quote the help,

“You is kind, You is smart, You is important.” 

But I can never just leave it like that so as a teacher I must say

” You are kind, you are smart, you are important.”

Come to think of it, I think I will have that made into a poster for my classroom.

Thats all for now! I will do a hair 10 months post relaxer update next week.

❤ Kelsi Rae